That’s ‘fear of other people’s opinions’. And one cool cucumber who knows how to shrug it off is tennis champ Ash Barty, says her performance coach Ben Crowe. Just another reason why we call her legend…
VICTORIA JOINS THE LOCKED DOWN GANG...
Almost 7 million Victorians start their 5 days in lockdown this morning after 2 more local COVID cases were recorded yesterday, bringing the state’s outbreak to 18. Victorians are required to stay at home except for essential work, shopping, exercise, caregiving, or to get a COVID jab – the standard… In NSW, 65 new local cases were recorded, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the number would likely be higher today. That brings the state’s outbreak total to 864 cases since 17 June. And in Queensland, 3 new local cases saw restrictions extended for residents of Brissie and surrounds for another week. Which means a lot to talk about at today’s National Cabinet meeting…
WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA?
PM Scott Morrison’s plan for more financial support for locked down states. He proposes to give affected individuals and businesses earlier access to payments than in previous lockdowns. Premier Andrews accused the PM of giving NSW preferential treatment over a $5.1 billion package announced on Wednesday. But overnight, he reached a deal with the PM to give financial support to workers affected by the state’s 5-day lockdown. Those who have lost between 8 and 20 hours of work will be eligible for a payment of $375, and workers who have lost more hours will be eligible for a payment of $600. Victoria is also putting its hand in its pocket to help fund the package. Morrison said he hopes the deal will be a model for other short lockdowns. “COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant, tends to be re-writing the rules and all the way through this pandemic, we’ve had to try to learn with the new strains.”
CAN YOU REMIND ME WHY DELTA IS SUCH A THING?
It’s a monster… First identified in India in December, Delta is the most transmissible COVID strain researchers have identified yet. This year, experts say Delta is likely to become the dominant strain. The World Health Organization this week reported an uptick in deaths and cases globally after 2 months of decline thanks to vaccination efforts. So it’s not just Oz that is scrambling to get on top of it – officials in the US, UK, Indonesia, Japan, and so many more are attempting to fight it off. As for what it means to you: Is it a bigger danger to your health? Possibly… And are vaccines effective against it? If you’re fully vaccinated, yes. For those who have had one shot, apparently less so. But like a lot in the pandemic, there are many outstanding questions…
SQUIZ THE REST
OZ STILL WORKIN’ IT
Australia’s unemployment rate fell 0.2% to 4.9% in June – the lowest level in a decade. Almost 30,000 jobs were created in the month, bringing the total number of people employed to 13.15 million. Tracking in the opposite direction, though, was underemployment (aka those in work but could do more hours). It rose 0.5% to 7.9% in June because of Victoria’s lockdown. At Budget time, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that wages growth wouldn’t happen until unemployment had a “4 in front of it”. Yesterday, he described June’s result as a milestone that was “very significant”. The dark cloud: “challenging days ahead” thanks to COVID outbreaks.
STORMS LASH GERMANY
At least 43 people have died after severe flooding in western Germany, and many more are still missing. Rainfall in parts of western Europe caused major rivers to burst their banks. The worst of the flooding has been in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia states, where buildings and cars have been washed away. And, at least 6 others have died in neighbouring Belgium. In Germany, police helicopters and hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to help stranded residents, with reports people have been waiting on rooftops to be rescued. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in the US ahead of a meeting with President Joe Biden, described the floods as a “catastrophe”. ” I mourn for those who have lost their lives in this catastrophe – we do not yet know these numbers, but there will be many,” she said.
GLOBAL LEADERS GET TALKING
We’re not the only nation worried about COVID and jobs… New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern will today host an emergency meeting with APEC leaders (our region’s premier economic forum) to discuss current COVID challenges, like the ongoing impact on the global economy. Ardern was due to host the 21-nation online summit in November, but China’s President Xi Jinping, US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and PM Scott Morrison will today (virtually) attend the ‘informal’ session on making vaccine rollouts more efficient, and securing jobs and economies. Ardern is also expected to argue for more resources for the COVAX program, which was set up to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines. It has struggled to secure enough doses for developing nations. “Nobody is safe until everyone is safe,” she said earlier this week.
AFGHAN INTERPRETERS TO BE EVACUATED
The US will start evacuating its Afghan interpreters who assisted their troops during almost 20 years of conflict due to concerns for their safety, the White House said yesterday. Operation Allies Refuge is set to begin next week, and reports say about 2,500 will be included. They will be housed in military facilities in the US and overseas while their visas are processed, but getting them out of Afghanistan ASAP is important as the Taliban (aka the fighters the US were up against) gains ground. Reports say government officials have negotiated an “indefinite ceasefire” with the Taliban, but that’s something the Islamist group has denied. As for Afghans employed by Aussie forces, PM Scott Morrison has said he “absolutely agrees” with former leader John Howard’s argument that Oz has a “moral obligation” to help them. But reports overnight say the Morrison government won’t join the US evacuation efforts (paywall) and had “no plan” to mount a similar effort to evacuate Afghans who had supported Aussie soldiers and diplomats. #SquizShortcuts
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON
Tick tock… There are 7 more sleeps until the Tokyo Olympic Games opening ceremony. Hype man/International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach yesterday promised the event will be “safe and secure”. And in more razzle-dazzle, a raft of COVID-related changes has been announced, including the banning of handshakes and hugs and new rules for medal winners. Instead of receiving their medals around their necks, athletes will go DIY and put them on themselves. Medallists will also have to wear face masks on the podium, as will officials – bad for observing their joy, but good for those who don’t know their national anthem. And with no spectators allowed, Bach said there would be an “immersive sound system” of crowd noises to create an atmosphere for athletes. It comes as Japan, which is currently under a state of emergency to combat the virus, recorded 1,149 new infections in Tokyo on Tuesday – its highest number since mid-January. #SquizShortcut
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Whatever you think of motoring star Jeremy Clarkson, his Amazon Prime series Clarkson’s Farm is a delight. The ‘cast’ is bang on, and it’s the sort of PR the British agricultural sector must have dreamed of. As you ponder who would front such a thing here in Oz, check out the trailer.
Readers looking forward to Sally Rooney’s 3rd novel Beautiful World, Where Are You, rejoice. An advance proof may be hard to come by, but there is this 9,000-word excerpt to savour in the meantime.
Something else to savour? Every mouthful of this ricotta cheesecake. A replica of one of Sydney’s best, this cheesecake is light, fluffy and all-around delicious. Take it from us, one slice is not enough…
SQUIZ THE DAY
National Cabinet meets
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hosts a virtual APEC summit to discuss immediate action on the pandemic
Start of the Boulia Camel Races (on until 18 July) – Warenda, Queensland
A docu-series about tennis star Naomi Osaka debuts on Netflix
Birthdays for children’s book author and illustrator Shirley Hughes (1927), actor Will Ferrell (1967) and golfer Adam Scott (1980)
• the birthdays of American journalist and civil rights activist Ida B Wells (1862) and dancer/entertainer Ginger Rogers (1911)
• the publication of JD Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye (1951)
• the launch of the historic Apollo 11 mission sending Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon (1969)
4.30am (AEST) – Women’s Basketball – Australian Opals v Team USA – Las Vegas
8.00am (AEST) – Basketball – Australian Boomers v Team USA – Las Vegas
9.30am (AEST) – Men’s Cricket – T20 Series Game 5 – Australia v West Indies – Saint Lucia
8.00pm (AEST) – Rugby Union – Wallabies v France – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
This year’s Hajj begins with only fully vaccinated people allowed to participate – Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Birthdays for Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (1947) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (1954)
• the execution of Russian Czar Nicholas II, his wife and their five children by Bolsheviks (1918)
• the opening of the first Disneyland in Anaheim, California (1955)
• the death of Billie Holiday (1959)
• the downing of MH17 over Ukraine (2014)
11.00am (AEST) – Basketball – NBA Finals Game 5 – Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks – Salt Lake City, Utah
Start of National Farm Safety Week (until 24 July)
Nelson Mandela International Day on the anniversary of his birthday (1918)
Birthdays for former Aussie cricket great Dennis Lillee (1949), Richard Branson (1950), Shaun Micallef (1962), Vin Diesel (1967), Elizabeth Gilbert (1969) and Kristen Bell (1980)
• the death of Jane Austen (1817)
• Kim Jong Un being appointed Supreme Leader of North Korea (2012)
Early morning – Cycling – Tour de France ends
The Squiz Archive
Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?
PREVIOUS SQUIZ TODAY
Weather information reproduced with the permission of the Bureau of Meteorology